Market Update: Western Plywood Prices

The Western Plywood Commodity markets have come alive in the past few weeks. Sales have been decent to very good, during the recent three-week span.

Prices started to bottom out three weeks ago, but are now up approximately 8 to 10% in the past 30 days. Current panel strength goes across all regions: SYP plywood, Western Plywood, Canadian Plywood, and OSB.  OSB, relatively speaking, has been the strongest item in the past couple weeks.

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Spot market 7/16 is selling at or above 15/32 CD 4 ply in the Northwest, which isn’t normal. Current plywood prices have broken through the recent (past 12 to 18 months) “tops” in the market, which may free the markets to run up from here.

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Canadian markets have quieted a bit at the mill level, due to order files in late April. Closer-in shipments from Canadian distributors are garnering most of the current business. Meanwhile, 15/32 CD 4 ply is tight in the SYP region, with one major producer taking extended maintenance downtime. Order files in the south range from April 1 to April 15. 

Current commodity plywood markets have made most of their gains without full participation from a good number of customers. In many areas, shipments continue to improve and wood is starting to go to job sites. This will likely spur, at a minimum, more fill-in buying.

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Customers seem to be content to continue to buy their needs only. With April around the corner, this should give encouragement to sellers in the marketplace. Housing starts figures were bullish, even amidst new data that suggest the Feds will not commence any rate cuts until at least midyear. For now, in commodity panels, it would seem that the trend is your friend. 


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